Parliament condemns Right2Know demo

2011-02-16 16:53

Cape Town - Parliament warned on Wednesday it will not hesitate to ensure that the law takes its course should there be a repeat of Tuesday's silent demonstration during a committee meeting.

"Parliament strongly condemns the violation of rules of conduct governing public participation in its work by representatives of the Right2Know non-governmental coalition who [on Tuesday] held a demonstration at a meeting of the ad-hoc committee on the protection of information bill," it said in a statement.

The conduct of the demonstrators was "extremely disrespectful" to the institution and undermined public representatives and the ethos of a people's parliament which encouraged and welcomed public participation in its work, it said.

During the meeting, a campaign delegation covered there their faces with masks depicting State Security Minister Siyabonga Cwele and silently held up placards reading "Cwele, Minister of Secrets!"

Parliament said, by law, demonstrations at parliament were prohibited, unless permission for such demonstrations had been granted in accordance with the law.

"The demonstration [on Tuesday] by members of Right2Know was particularly unseemly."

All members of the public and civil society organisations had been afforded the opportunity to make their views heard about the bill.

Through this process, submissions to the committee and, generally, public input on the bill had been encouraged and received.

"To disregard the democratic avenues open to the group to make themselves heard on matters before parliament in favour of undermining the dignity of the institution through illegal acts is unacceptable and worthy of unmitigated condemnation."

Such acts would not be tolerated and parliament would ensure that the full might of the law was applied to protect the institution and its members in the conduct of their work.

"If such grave misconduct as was displayed [on Tuesday] occurs again, Parliament will not hesitate to ensure that the law takes its course," it said.

  • robg - 2011-02-16 17:17

    What a joke. Nzimande can use racial terms but people can't silently protest. Bunch of idiots ,the lot .

  • Tc - 2011-02-16 17:31

    Kry vir julle!!!

  • sean.sharkie - 2011-02-16 17:38

    But its perfectly acceptable to cause damage property, intimidate other non-protesting members, such as the in current transport strike? Go figure!

  • - 2011-02-16 21:31

    Luv that phrase " Full might of the law "; Which is what exactly in this country...........??? Or is this only reserved for peaceful protestors?

  • maseratifitt - 2011-02-16 21:57

    Parliamentarians are supposed to represent the interests of the people. A good way to do this, is to have the country divided into geographical areas and have a representative (or more than one) for each area. No political parties should be involved. Unfortunately our politicians have chosen a system whereby parliamentarians are chosen on the basis of their political party affiliation.What happens now, is if the Party bosses decide on a certain course of action (as the ANC is at present doing with the muzzling bill) the parliamentarians are expected to vote as prescribed by the Party, even if they personally disagree with the Party. The interests of the people fall by the wayside. In our country the ANC so far attracted the majority of voters. Many of these voters have blind faith in the ANC and are not aware of all the issues involved. I am sure many of them have not even heard of the "Travelgate" affair, for instance. I am also convinced that many of them (perhaps the majority of ANC supporters)did not have an opportunity to study the implications of the muzzling bill and therefore made no contribution out of personal conviction. It is therefore up to organisations like Right2Know broaden and deepen our democracy. In my view Political Parties should be abolished as soon as possible, in the interests of freedom, democracy and national unity.

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